10 Foods That Boost Your Mood
Whether I’m about to get my period or a car alarm woke me up prematurely, I am no stranger to mood swings. Sometimes, all it takes is an overly simplified e-mail to really get me going. But it’s okay to get a little grumpy once in a while, because bad moods are a fact of life, right? Well, winter summer is coming (see what I did there, GoT fans?) and we just have less and less time and patience for bad moods. We want to be happy and enjoying the sunlight, even if we can only do so from our cubicles. But if you do get stuck in a rut, there are some natural and yummy solutions.
Oily fish, such as salmon, tuna and rainbow trout provide your body with Omega-3s. Omega-3s are awesome, by the way. They help clear up your skin and add shine to your hair. They also have the power to boost your mood because they help alter brain chemicals that are in charge of your emotions (for instance, dopamine and serotonin).
If you’re and Thai and Indian food junkie like me, you’re in luck. According to a study done in Iran’s Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 50 women who were experiencing hardcore PMS were given two 15 mg saffron or placebo capsules every single day over the course of two months. Doctors kept a journal and recorded the moods and behaviors of these women. What they discovered, was that ¾ of the women who took the saffron capsules reported that their PMS symptoms decreased significantly, whereas only 8% of the women who were taking the placebo pills claimed anything was different or better. Saffron has natural antidepressant effects that can be compared to Prozac. Crazy!
I don’t know about you, but as soon as I catch a whiff of coconut-scented sunscreen, I can practically feel myself lounging in white sand on a tropical beach thousands of glorious miles away from my term papers and deadlines. Apparently, the scent of coconut is supposed to have that psychological effect; it basically blurs your “fight or flight” response and slows your heart rate down, like an anti-anxiety medication. So, when you’re ever feeling a bad mood coming on, just buy some coconut-scented lotion at the pharmacy, or better yet, purchase some coconut water at the store!
Let’s go back to basics. Your body needs Vitamin C to function; it also helps pump oxygen through your body and brain so you can re-charge. If you’re not getting enough Vitamin C, you might be feeling groggy, sluggish, or just plain sick. Drink some orange juice for breakfast or pack a cold, peeled orange with you for lunch.
Swiss chardhas an amazing amount of magnesium, which has been proven to help us overcome stress and anxiety. Not only does it help out with pissy moods, and stress, but it can also help you sleep. If you’re like me and can’t fall asleep because your brain is spinning (right round) like a record, reeling and playing out the day’s stressful events, then this is the veggie for you. Steam it or sautée it with some soy chorizo and mushrooms!
Blueberriesare basically the gods of fruit. They steal the show every time there is some kind of fruit triathlon because THEY ARE SO GOOD FOR YOU. Blueberries are just bursting with antioxidants that keep your neural pathways running smoothly, and they also give you a ton of energy.
Cherries are just about in season, and whether you like them in pie, trail mix or just as they are, cherries are here to chill you out! Besides containing a ton of antioxidants, they also provide natural melatonin and serotonin, compounds that basically de-stress you and allow you sleep peacefully, so when you wake up in the morning, you’re more likely to be a happy camper.
It’s true. Hamburgers made with lean beef (or black beans) are good for your mental health. That’s what I keep telling myself when I make emergency trips to In-n-Out for dinner. Eating food that has a good source of iron helps carry oxygen through blood to boost mental energy. Approximately 80% of women are iron-deficient! So go grill yourself a burger, girl.
According to Judith J. Wurtman, PhD and author of The Serotonin Power Diet, there is this theory that carbs help boost serotonin. I don’t mean pouring an entire bag of Chex Mix into your mouth (I wish!), but if you snack on complex carbs (like oatmealor a whole-wheat English muffin), then you increase your mood for way longer than if you chowed down on some spaghetti (endorphins are released then too, but for a short amount of time).
Chocolate is magical. One Hershey Kiss of True Love and I’m a new woman. According to a ton of studies, the chemical compounds in chocolate have similar effects on the brain as…marijuana! So don’t do drugs. Just eat chocolate. Also, an added bonus is that chocolate contains caffeine, so not only does it enhance your mood, but it skyrockets your energy! Win and win.